A to Z Challenge: J is for Jot

 “What a great idea! I’ll totally remember this in the morning.” How many times have we told ourselves this lie? I get my best ideas in the shower or right before I fall asleep, and chances are, if I wait too long to write down whatever plot twist or scene starter has occurred to me at those times, I lose it.

For this reason, I’m a big fan of jotting. Ideas, notions, characters, whatever – I write them down when they occur to me. Even if it means I have to drag myself out of bed and write for the next two hours.  Continue reading

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The Ripped Bodice Grand Opening

12814343_10153417664793341_4690919157905779256_nWhile in Los Angeles earlier this month, I happened to be around Culver City for the grand opening of The Ripped Bodice, the first romance-only bookstore. After raising over $90,000 on Kickstarter, sisters Bea and Leah Koch opened the doors on March 4th, 2016.

The store is cute and highly photogenic, with a mix of art, carefully curated gift items, and of course, BOOKS! The books are displayed in a way that makes it easy for you to browse genres & tropes you enjoy. Looking for rock stars? Sports romance? M/M? There’s a shelf for each, & knowledgeable staff to answer your questions and give suggestions. Indie, traditional, and classics can be found easily, making for an impressive selection of print titles. Subtle, creative merchandising invites you to get lost while looking for your latest additions to the TBR pile. Displays seamlessly combine books & local crafts, making it a great gift resource for book lovers. And I can’t say enough about the antique furniture decorating the space & providing seating. If you’re in LA, definitely check out The Ripped Bodice, a haven for romance readers.

Lots of photos below! Continue reading

Creative Staycation: The Beginning

Dogwood blossom

Creative Staycation was born out of a need to prioritize creativity.

Last week I realized that I had been neglecting my creative projects. While I always seemed to have time to check Facebook or Twitter, I hadn’t been making time to draw, or write, or paint, or brainstorm new ideas.

When my cousin canceled her trip to New York this weekend and my boyfriend announced that he was going upstate for four days with his family, I decided that I would use the time to reconnect with my creative energy. Instead of canceling my Friday plans to go upstate with Boyfriend, or telling my friends that I could do all of the things I’d turned down because of my cousin’s visit, I embarked on a Creative Staycation.

The Creative Staycation is a designated block of time to follow creative whims, devote attention to in-progress projects, play with new ideas, and nourish the spirit through self-care. For me, it’s also about taking responsibility and being honest with myself about how I’m prioritizing my activities, and releasing judgment around how I spend my time.

I’m an artist, a writer, and I work with kids every day. I started the personal development and spirituality work almost three years ago, but in March I recommitted to the practice. In other words, I made a hobby of working on myself. I stopped mindlessly playing iPad games, watching crap TV, and binge-reading historical romance novels. I upped my spiritual practice and started journaling again, but my “Quick Art Project of the Day” goal wasn’t fulfilling enough. The Creative Staycation served as a way to jump back into the creativity pool head first.

The Creative Staycation blog is a celebration, a sharing of the creative and spiritual steps I’m taking on this journey of the self. Expect “Quick Art Project of the Day” posts (often with kids involved), updates about in-progress projects, creative inspiration, and written processing of spiritual concepts as I work to deepen my own understanding.

If this resonates with you at all, I invite you to conduct your own Creative Staycation, even if just for an hour. It’s more about a protected block of time than any kind of rigid structure. Within that time, you’re free to create, play, and have fun, by making the conscious choice to do so. Go ahead. Indulge in creativity. But even more, prioritize creativity.